By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
Richard Childress Racing stumped the field in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, when both of their entries stayed out during a caution with 27 laps to go.
Due to the strategy play, the No. 3 Chevrolet of Austin Dillon received the lead and their No. 8 rookie Tyler Reddick got second.
And it stayed that way. Surviving three restarts in the last 27 laps, the RCR duo held off the trailing pack with fresher rubber to score the shock win for the Chevy team.
For Reddick, it was a career-best NASCAR Cup Series finish for the two-time Xfinity Series champion, who came home second. The result was his second top five and sixth top 10 through 18 races in 2020.
“We couldn’t ask for anything more than what we got there,” said Reddick. “Me and my teammate [Dillon] there on the last couple restarts. He’s done this a little longer than I have and I’m a little rusty, I haven’t been on the front row in a while. He just snookered me those times.”
HOW BOUT THEM @RCRCup BOYS!!!!
— RCR (@RCRracing) July 19, 2020
Though taking it a tad easy on his teammate, a Cup Series victory was still on the line. And after fellow rookie Cole Custer scored his first win one week ago at Kentucky Speedway, the 24-year-old was ready to join the list.
“It was important to me that we fought fair,” he said. “There was one restart I could have went to his inside. I just wanted it to be between us. I didn’t want to bring other cars into it — make sure we could fight it out.”
With multiple chances to grab the top spot from the outside lane, Reddick didn’t have enough.
“The restarts kept giving us opportunities, unfortunately, we just couldn’t get it done today,” he said. “Austin won that race fair and square.
“It was about strategy. Kyle [Busch] was doing a good job at pushing me. That last one put us at a big deficit and I couldn’t get back out of it.”
Capping off the first 1-2 finish for RCR since 2011, Reddick is thrilled for the organization, as they now head just north to Kansas Speedway on Thursday night.
“It’s a great way to turn around some of the tough luck and momentum that has gone our way the last month,” he said. “Hats off the the No. 3 and all those guys. They’re working hard.”
In the playoff battle, Dillon is confirmed with his first win of the season. For Reddick, the battle may not be over, but it’s still well in reach, now sitting 14 points below the cut line with eight regular-season races remaining.
“It gets one RCR Chevy into the playoffs and now we’re below the cutline,” he said. “We got to keep fighting. If we can keep running like this, we’re not going to have to worry about points hopefully.”